Whenever I have the opportunity to answer questions about myself, I am quick to say that I love travelling and I love to argue. Travelling not because my father owns NNPC and we have all the fuel to go cross country, but because of the exposure you get mixing with the cultural values of the destination and the rare chance to watch nature especially in a country like ours, with topography next to none in the world. Argue because it is one of the easiest places to learn with your guards up and logic sharpened. I might add learning new things to the hobbies because as a personal principle, no day should pass without learning something new about something or someone (that’s amebo). I had the opportunity to do all three as I travelled to Uyo recently for the first time, for the Young Lawyers’ Forum.
Travelling by road comes with its perks: long hours, bananas on the road, gist, boredom, and yes, the part when you park to eat. But with all these perks come the sweeter part when you get to engage yourselves in interesting arguments, and expose yourself to knowledge even as you go across the country. Being in the bus with 13 other Ibadan Lawyers was the height. You could feel the passion in the gist, the logic in the arguments, the locality of the accents and of course the vibrancy because yes we all are young lawyers. We argued from politics to morals, to academics, court processes and yes some fun times snapping pictures on the road of funny sights and interesting eye feeders. But as taking pictures is not a hobby, your boy just smiled on as they snapped and posted on insta.
Getting to Uyo at night and meeting the kind of scenery, I almost wished I was an Uyo Lawyer. The roads were clean and good, you could smell the oil money at work. The road signs, wide round-abouts, world class stadium that beat our Liberty Stadium hands down; the international hospital, and other side attractions gave me some nice eye food. Regardless of all this, we had a conference to attend and that we had to get to after a great night in a motel without water, wardrobe nor sockets to charge my phone.
One very common feature of the rich and mighty in Nigeria is their affiliation with government or politics. I think that until people can make money without one government contract or one Public Private Sector Participation, the new appellation for public service and private siphoning, we would not have broken the economic stress we are having. It is because of this political-success-affiliation that everything and process Nigerian has an undertone of politics in it. So the conference was for Young Lawyers and of course old lawyers had to come and speak to us. The program and the speeches were a lot political in my opinion. There was a session with two speakers who are aspirants to the presidency of the Bar association in coming elections, regardless of the expertise of one of them in a topic in another session. I got a good explanation from one political animal friend of mine: they have to give them space to talk at the same time so that one does not have a hedge over the other; people usually would get swayed with the first speaker than the second so putting the second aspirant in the next session would be disadvantageous to his cause.
I listened and enjoyed myself with the speeches and resolved to be before I have. As is typical with every of my conferences and trainings I attend, there must be resolutions there from, and this was to become knowledgeable, relevant, a master and an authority in litigation, corporate insurance and public financing practice. Watch out!!!
The only problem with road travels is the bad roads. A journey of 10 hours would take at least 13. Coming back to Ibadan, we spent 16 hours on the road, with 4hours spent crossing the Niger Bridge. I could only imagine what would happen to my people if they were to cross that bridge to attend my wedding of an Igbo damsel or Calabar maiden. God will epp them sha. I would still make calls to the Ministry of Works, to embark on the revamping of the federal roads in this country. A second Niger Bridge is needed and I know there have been plans towards it for years with no actualization. If no other federal road is done, please the federal roads to and out of Ibadan need serious attention.
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